Four Books Every New Lawyer Should Read

Essential Reading List for New Attorneys and Law Students

New lawyers and law students often look for guidance on what to do and how to do it after they're finally licensed to practice law. The following lawyer books are on my recommended reading list, and they make good gifts for attorneys, too.

1
Making Your Case - Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner

Making Your Case. Credit: www.amazon.com

Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges packs more practical advice on advocacy into one book than anything else on the market. There is no more fundamental issue in trial or appellate law than determining how to persuade the judge to rule in your favor. Scalia and Garner provide 115 specific rules to follow, each with an explanation of how to apply the rule in practice. This book should be required reading at every law school in the country, and it should be the first book you buy in planning a legal career. Buy from Amazon

2
How to Argue and Win Every Time - Gerry Spence

Gerry Spence
How to Argue and Win Every Time. Credit: www.amazon.com

How to Argue and Win Every Time by Gerry Spence is an insightful guide on argumentation from one of America's most successful and persuasive trial attorneys. Spence provides practical guidance on how to be a more compelling and successful advocate for your clients, as well as how to be more successful in life in general. Spence is a masterful storyteller and a wonderful writer. I also recommend obtaining a copy of the audiobook version -- it's read by Gerry Spence himself. Spend some time listening to him explain how he's been so successful at arguing cases and you'll be ready to walk into any courtroom with confidence. Buy from Amazon

3
MacCarthy on Cross-Examination by Terence F. MacCarthy

Terence F. MacCarthy
MacCarthy on Cross-Examination. Credit: www.amazon.com

Many books, training programs, videos and other educational tools help young lawyers learn the art of cross-examination. My recommendation is to start with MacCarthy on Cross-Examination by Terence F. MacCarthy. Although many cross-examination systems take somewhat differing approaches to this critical trial skill, MacCarthy's approach is easy to learn. A new lawyer can quickly grasp his advice and put it to use almost immediately.

I recommend also looking at more detailed training programs that will take your skills to a higher level, but there's no better starting point than MacCarthy's. I attended a seminar he taught on cross-examination techniques early in my legal career, many years before he had written this book. The advice was so useful and so practical, it stuck with me throughout my legal career -- something I can't say about many seminars I attend. Every new lawyer should read this book so he can conduct a competent cross-examination in every case. Buy from Amazon

4
The Elements of Legal Style by Bryan A. Garner

Bryan Garner
The Elements of Legal Style. Credit: www.amazon.com

The second Bryan Garner book to make this list, The Elements of Legal Style was inspired by Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. This practical guide to better legal writing will help new lawyers with important fundamentals such as word choice, sentence structure and rhetoric. Although it may not be as fun or interesting as the other lawyer books on this list, being a good legal writer will greatly benefit your career. Learn from Bryan Garner, the nation's top expert on legal writing, in this practical guide. Buy from Amazon